Note 7.—This asserts that it is the “duty” of all to whom the Gospel is made known to “believe” and to “receive” it.

It is, however, expressed with little exactness. The phrase, “Believing [in] the Gospel” is used but once in the New Testament, Mark 1:15, where, (as shown, page 28,) the word “Gospel” is used, not in its later and technical sense, for the glad tidings of the Saviour’s finished work, but for the announce­ment of His benevolent designs towards the Jewish nation at a crisis in their history. For this only the Lord here craved credence.

The expression is not appropriate to the Faith with which Salvation is conjoined—which has a Person for its object, credence in the testimony leading to trust in Him.

Again, the distinction between “believing” and “receiving” the Gospel is not obvious. It may simply mean that all to whom it is made known, ought to “believe” in its truth, and “receive” it with respectful attention,—namely, the word “receive” should here be regarded as synonymous with “believe,” or, perhaps, as expressing the same idea in a more emphatic manner; or, our brethren may intend that it is the duty of all such persons as they describe, to exercise “the Faith of God’s elect” and believe, to the eternal salvation of their souls?

Once more, our brethren are vague in identifying individuals as those to whom the Gospel “is made known” The word know in relation to the Gospel is used in the New Testament in two senses. It sometimes stands for a mere intellectual ac­ quaintance with the letter of Divine truth, without any spiritual apprehension of its moment, (Matt. 22:29; Rom. 1:21,22; Jude 10.) More often, however, it describes that peculiar knowledge of the truth of God, which is the result of the operations of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of elect and blood-bought sinners, and which is a special blessing of the New Covenant, (Psa. 2:6; Heb. 8:11; John 10:32; 1 John 2:23,27,29.)

In which sense are we here to understand the term? If the meaning is, that all who gain a fair knowledge of God’s gracious way of saving men, ought to believe the Gospel which declares it, we have no controversy with them. The Gospel is “a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation,” 2 Tim. 4:15.) Having such authority, it demands a candid and cordial reception ( apodocheJ from all to whom it is “made known.” Whether it comes to a man “in power and in the Holy Ghost,” or, in “word only,” (1 Thess. 1:5,) it is his duty to give it attention, and to order his conduct by the informa­ tion he receives from it.

Probably, however, our brethren intend that it is the duty of all who become acquainted with God’s plan of salvation, not only to assent to the veracity of the Divine record, but to approach the Lord Jesus by spiritual Faith, and accept salvation at His hands.



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